A Word In Your Ear with Jon Rhodes - April 28, 2011

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YOU know how you find yourself saying the immortal words “I’ve heard it all now?”

Well, I reckon I have.

Come on, dodgem cars that don’t bump, someone’s having a laugh surely.

Well, apparently not. Staff at Butlins have reportedly banned bumper car drivers from bumping into each other because they fear visitors may get injured.

Holidaymakers using the dodgems at the Bognor Regis, Skegness and Minehead resorts have been told to drive carefully around the course and avoid all contact with other cars.

The holiday resort said the strict rules are to stop visitors injuring themselves. Those who flout the regulations are told to get off.

A spokeswoman for Butlins said: “To have a nice time in our resorts on our holidays we think you should dodge on the dodgems. This has always been the case.

“We don’t want anyone getting hurt. If you bump you get crushed fingers and all sorts of other injuries.”

A fair valid point ... if you happen to be a complete clown, and I mean no offence to any members of the honourable red nosed fraternity out there who know a thing or two about driving cars without four matching wheels, let alone a valid MOT.

But come on, bumper cars with no bumps, what next? Boxing with no punches? And I excuse Audley Harrison from that last statement.

Can you really see kids today spending good cash on this version of a classic fairground ride which basically involves recreating a normal day on the M6?

Drive fast, appear not to look, go right up to the car in front, give a crude hand signal if needed, but whatever you do, do not bump your rival.

I’m no expert here, but just like I’ve never known anyone who has had their arm broken by a swan, I’ve never seen anyone in casualty suffering whiplash or the aforementioned crushed finger because of a dodgem’s pile up.

I make no apologies for being a long-time champion against the seemingly global ban on the classic playground game British Bulldogs.

I really never saw the harm in 150 youngsters charging towards a one poor kid in the middle of the playground.

The game is much derided as a kind of violent Gladiatorial square up which left hundreds of children beaten up or maimed. Not so.

From my recollection it taught speed, poise, fleetness of foot and an ability to second guess an opponent – you know, all the qualities the English football team has lacked since the Nanny State outlawed Bulldogs in the late 1980s.

All right, you fell over occasionally, but you got back up and gave it another go.

Isn’t that just a practical version of what we try and teach our kids every single day?

Dodgems likewise. You get bumped, well, go and bump them right back.

All these things were all just a bit of childish fun and sadly I stress the word were.